Rice prices rise in India on demand from African buyers


Govt agencies, exporters buy aggressively while export markets in Thailand, Vietnam quiet in the absence of buyers ahead of Lunar New year holidays

Rice prices in India advanced this week as demand from African buyers improved and government agencies and exporters bought aggressively, while export markets in Thailand and Vietnam were quiet in the absence of buyers ahead of Lunar New year holidays, traders said on Thursday.

India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, saw 5% broken parboiled rice rise $7 per tonne to $352 to $357 per tonne, as aggressive purchases by the government and exporters pushed prices of unmilled rice in the local market.

Export demand has improved from African buyers over the last few weeks, said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

“Supplies from new season crop are coming, but the government agencies are active in the market,” he said.

The government’s move to scrap high-value currency notes disrupted supplies in November and December and many domestic buyers could not replenish their inventories, said a Mumbai-based trader.

India scrapped Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes in November to crack down on rampant corruption and counterfeit currency.

India’s summer-sown rice output is seen at a record 93.88 million tonnes in the crop year to June 2017, 2.81% higher than last year, as plentiful monsoon rains help boost yields.

Meanwhile, Thai benchmark 5% broken rice was quoted at $360-$365 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok on Thursday, the same as last on Wednesday.

With the Chinese New Year just days ahead, there was no order as shipments would not make it in time for the holidays, said a trader in Bangkok.

The Thai Rice Exporters Association quoted the 5% broken rice at $380 a tonne on Thursday.

Vietnam’s 5-percent broken rice was quoted at $335-$345 a tonne, FOB Saigon, down from $345-$350 a tonne a week earlier.

“The market is quiet as there are no buyers,” said a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam and the Philippines have extended a rice trade agreement to December 2018, under which Vietnam pledged to provide its partner up to 1.5 million tonnes of the grain per year.

Vietnam is expected to export 5.8 million tonnes of rice in 2017, up 7.4% from a year earlier, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture in December.


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